THE HISTORY OF MARION SKETCHES OF LIFE
in Perry County, Alabama
By S. A. Townes
“Vive La Bagatelle.”
Printed by Dennis Dykom
Mr. A. West fond of speculating—made more than fort) removals-a doubt expressed whether Mr. W. will ever die prayer of the historian for his life-good advice to Mr. W.— Mr. W. improves on Mr. Muckle’s improvements-Mrs. West assists her husband in all his arduous duties-Mrs. W. is justly commended and complimented for so doing-old stock, Aristocracy, “first families of Virginia,” reflectings concerning them. Mr. West’s nearest neighbor, Mr. Warner Young-Mr. Young’s residence-Dr. Jesse P. Cravens, Dr. Samuel Thompson and the steam practice-John Johnson-his relation by marriage to the family of John Smith-In the year 1819 County laid off and named by the Legislature-new county site to be selected by commissioners, and who they were.
The celebrated John Law, of South Sea notoriety, was not more deeply smitten with a spirit of speculation, than Mr. Anderson West—the immediate successors of Michael Muckle, and sole proprietor of the future Marion.
After forty odd removals and experiencing mutations of fortune, in all her aspects, he has recently returned from a settlement in Mississippi, and now again abides with us. — Friend West in his chequered life and varying fortunes, presents a tempting picture for the pencil of the historian; but he is here in our midst, in a green old age, full of fire and enthusiasm of youth, a robust participator in the active pursuits of life; we shall, therefore, only speak of Mr. West in such terms, as the current of our history may demand. May he live a thousand years and his shadow never grow less! but, if he should ever die, and the present historian of Marion survive him, he here gives him notice, that a note to this great work will perpetuate his memory, by recording his virtues and passing over his failings; and we would just hint there never was a better time for reforming the latter than now.
The day dreams of youth, and the delusive promises of manhood, have both been experienced by thee, my dear old friend! Thou hast joyed and sorrowed. Found a time to dance and a time to pray. Indeed thou hast found “a time for all things, and well have ye fulfilled” the postolic injunction, “be ye all things to all men,” until now, in “the sear and yellow leaf of life, well mayest thou exclaim, “all is vanity and vexation of spirit,”
Anderson West and his wife
The first care of Mr. West, after taking possession of Michael Muckle’s improvement, was to improve upon it, and he accordingly added several acres to the cleared spot; and, when he was ready to roll his logs, who, good and squeamish lady, think you assisted him in that laborious business? None other than the good wife of Mr. Anderson West. Yes, this lady, then in the morning of life, with rosy cheeks, gladsome heart, and the strong arms of health helped to pile the logs that were cut off our public square—on that very square over which her ladylike daughters now walk with conscious pride, in having such a mother. The writer records this little incident, to show how readily, in “olden time,” men and women gave a helping hand to all becoming vocations to make the pot boil.
In those days it was not deemed discreditable for man and wife to assist each other, in every way that was possible, for the one to be serviceable to the other. This log-rolling lady lived to see her children well raised, well educated, and those who have quit the parental roof, well settled in life. She speaks of what she has seen and suffered, as past time, and has the good sense, and good cause too, to look back upon her homely occupations, and the manner in which she discharged them, not with shame and mortification, but with that honest and commendable pride, which always springs from the consciousness of having intentioned and done well—In contrast with those who have more recently come among us, all claiming to be from the “first families of Virginia,” and giving themselves airs for that questionable respectability, it is refreshing to meet some of the Old Stock, who, when they hear a man lauded, do not ask of what blood is he, and how many of his dead ancestors were respectable for their virtures, but enquire what has he done— what can he do?
According to their queer notions it is more disreputable to be the scrub offspring of a glorious ancestor, than the scurvy representative of ancestors.
“whose ignoble blood,
Has crept through scoundrels ever since the flood.
In a word, they entertain the just opinion that personal merit constututes the only claim to character and consideration; and that the field of honor, and the path of duty, like our public lands, lie open to all who may wish to enter them.
The nearest neighbor Mr. West had, on taking possession of his improvement, was Warner Young, whose name, with that of S—h M—n. has become so common on our Court docket, either as plaintiff or defendant, that they are both justly regarded as the John Does and Richard Roes of the law in Perry. Mr, Warner Young had an improvement not far from the late residence of Dr. Jesse P. Cravens, and little dreamed then that the very spot of his residence, after the lapse of twenty-odd years, would be occupied by a disciple of Samuel Thompson, the father of a system of medical practice, which, like the elementary principle of stream on which it is based, seems destined to revolutionize all former modes of—getting along! Warner’s improvement was purchased by one John Johnson of whom we only know that he was named John Johnson, and was nearly related by marriage to the family of the John Smiths. Up to this period Marion had nothing more to entitle it to peculiar attention than other private neighborhoods. In the year, however, of 1819, this county was laid off and named by the Legislature; until then, the judicial law of the land was administered at a place, east of Marion, and West of the Cahaba river, then known and yet called, Old Perry Court House.
County seat inconvenient
After the boundaries of the county were defined, the old county site was found so very inconvenient, and gave cause for so much complaint that the Legislature of the state authorized the election of, by the people of Perry, five Commissioners, who when elected, were to be entrusted with the delicate and responsible duty of permanently locating the county site and giving it a name. The election resulted in the selection of Joseph Evans, George Weissinger, James Shackleford, John Welsh and William Ford, of whom and other matters, we propose to treat more fully, in the next chapter of this history.
The Alabama Historical Quarterly, Vol. 14, Nos. 03 & 04, 1952.
Many people settled in Alabama for a time when the Mississippi Territory opened, then moved further west. This is a great book for genealogists researching early citizens of Perry County, Alabama. Brush Creek in Perry County, Alabama was settled before Alabama became a state. The area was designated as a Post Office and an election precinct. The settlers listed in this volume are a few of the residents who lived in Brush Creek, Alabama around 1850.
The biographies of the head of households include: MARK SMITH; ANDREW THOMAS, JR.; ANDREW M. RUSSELL, SR.; JOHN COUNTS; MICHAEL MOWDY; JOHN FRAZIER; JOHN FREDERICK SHAFFER; GEORGE GASPER MONTS; JOHN POOL.